SOAS University of London

SOAS ICOP team celebrates first year of direct policy engagement

16 February 2021

The Influencing the Corridors of Power (ICoP) team at SOAS celebrates its first year of impactful policy engagement with UK policymakers. In the past year, the ICoP team has demonstrated how policymaking can be supported and informed by diverse and expert voices, by bringing advice from a wide range of stakeholders (including black teenagers excluded from school) into Westminster.

By producing peer-reviewed research from within university systems of governance, ICOP has written and shared 35 peer-reviewed single-page expert briefings and 5-minute podcasts to policymakers while serving as a platform to widen academic and public engagement in policymaking, frequently informing changes to legislation. These briefings range from anti-trafficking legislation, to Universal Basic Income, the Covert Human Intelligence Bill, and UK Aid after the DFID and FCO merger and more.

Amidst the tendency of the UK government to use special advisers and commissions to inform their decisions, Britain’s extraordinarily high death toll from Covid-19 has revealed that this is not always the right approach. The rapid rollout of the vaccine by the NHS has shown what can be achieved when our public institutions and experts are empowered.

With this in mind, eleven of ICoP’s evidence-based briefings have been on Covid-19.

Working with the Chair of the Muslim Doctors Association, Dr Hina Shahid, and Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh at the start of the pandemic, ICOP successfully encouraged the government to collect and publish Covid-19 mortality data in relation to ethnicity and to recognise the impact of Covid-19 on faith communities. As the serious impact of the coronavirus on ethnic minorities has since been revealed, we can see how vital this data was.

The independent and trustworthy expertise that ICOP offers is needed more than ever. At the start of a new year, ICOP is now reaching out to work with and offer training to other universities and stakeholders.

Professor Alison Scott Baumann, Founder and Project Leader of Influencing the Corridors of Power (ICoP) said: “The work of the ICoP team shows how to fulfil the social contract between a government and its people. Evidence based findings from experienced and expert parliamentarians can achieve much more together than apart. We are also bringing the voices of young people, often ignored, into the corridors of power."

As well as the briefings, the team has also:

For a functioning democracy it is not only policymakers who should be better informed, but the public too. So, whether you are a policymaker or not please subscribe to receive ICOP briefings so that you are better informed in 2021: the success of our democracy depends on this.

Visit the ICOP website and follow @SOASICOP for further briefings.

For further information, contact:

Alison Scott-Baumann: as150@soas.ac.uk